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46              A SEARCH IN SECRET EGYPT
passages and gloomy chambers which lie within them. 1 frequently sat on the white limestone blocks at the base of the Great Pyramid in the fierce heat of the afternoon sun or on the soft sand which lies to the east, and pondered the problem. I climbed course after course of masonry, searched carefully for clues, examined crevices and studied the general lay-out of the three buildings. I disturbed large lizards and huge cockroaches inside the dark, rarely visited tunnels of the Second and Third Pyramids. In short, I worked so hard at my researches that I became as familiar with these old structures, these stone mementoes of Egypt's earliest race, as I was with the rooms of my new flat in Cairo.
And the more I became acquainted with their details, the more I was compelled to admire them, while the better I understood their peculiar plans the better I realized their remarkable technical excellence.
The technical skill involved in quarrying, transporting and hoisting into position the immense stone blocks for these triangular legacies from remote antiquity, at a time when steam and electrical aids were not available, demanded and received my admiration. No travelling steam-crane could have moved along steel rails to hoist those mighty blocks of stone into place, for both steam and steel were alike unknown quantities in that epoch.
Certainly, if any Pharaoh had wished to leave a lasting tomb for posterity, he could not have chosen a more durable architectural form than the pyramid. The immense base, the sloping sides and the narrow top would protect his sepulchre against wind, sand and time, better than any other form, while the solid mass of the interior offered the greatest possible resistance to the violating hands of men.
Although the impressive skyscraping towers of New York have now outdistanced the Pyramid, the fact remains that throughout the known history of the world and until lately the Pyramid remained its highest man-made structure, dwarfing all others, a wonder for the ancients and a riddle for the moderns.
I quickly found, as all other investigators have before me, that the internal construction of the First Pyramid was far more complicated than that of the other two, as well as being infinitely more interesting, while its immense comparative size proclaimed its greater importance. It was not long, therefore, before I